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PA submits counter-proposal to Trump’s ‘deal of the century’

Palestinians protest against the deal of the century, in Gaza City on 12 January 2019 [Mahmoud Ajjour/ApaImages]
Palestinians protest against the deal of the century, in Gaza City on 12 January 2019 [Mahmoud Ajjour/ApaImages]

The Palestinian Authority (PA) has submitted a counter-proposal to US Preisdent Donald Trump’s so-called ‘deal of the century’ to the diplomatic Quartet – a group comprising the United Nations, European Union, Russia and the US, tasked with mediating talks – the Times of Israel reported.

The piece added Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh announced the counter-proposal during a press conference on Tuesday, saying, “we submitted a counter-proposal to the Quartet a few days ago”.

Few details of the four and a half page counter-proposal were made available, but Al Jazeera quoted Shtayyeh as saying the plan seeks to create a “sovereign Palestinian state, independent and demilitarised”, with East Jerusalem as the capital.

The counter-proposal allows for “minor modifications of borders where necessary” including exchanges of land equal “in size and volume and in value”.

The counter-proposal is a response to Trump’s so-called ‘deal of the century’ which, unveiled in January, seeks to create a permanent solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

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The plan was immediately rejected by the Palestinian Authority as heavily weighted in Israel’s favour. The plan was also rejected by much of the international community, including the Arab League, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation and the United Nations.

Despite widespread condemnation, however, the US and Israel have signalled intent to implement the plan unilaterally.

The ‘deal of the century’ seeks to create an ostensibly contiguous Palestinian state, with Abu Dis – a suburb of Jerusalem – as the capital. The rest of the demilitarised state would be made up to between 70 and 80 per cent of the West Bank, most of the Gaza strip and pockets of land in southern Israel.

Deal of the century, embassy relocation, and the Golan Heights - Israel surely can't believe their luck? - Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

Deal of the century, embassy relocation, and the Golan Heights – Israel surely can’t believe their luck? – Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

The plan also greenlights Israeli annexation of approximately 30 per cent of the West Bank, including the strategic Jordan Valley and settlements widely considered illegal under international law.

In early February, senior US Presidential aide Jared Kushner said, in an interview with Egyptian MBD Masr network, that Palestinians could “weigh in” on the plan. His comments, however, were made amid several japes at PA President Mahmoud Abbas and the wider Palestinian community.

In an interview with CNN broadcast the same day, Kushner said, “in my business, when someone tries to do business for 20 years and fails, he is replaced by someone else… [they have a] track record of failing at making peace deals”, in an attack on the Palestinian leadership.

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